Mar 042013

Android guide for beginners

Android in the most famous operating system right now for mobile devices and tablets. Android developed by Android Inc. and later acquired by Google in 2005. Android OS is based on Linux kernel. That’s why it very much stable and free from many virus and bugs of windows.

Day by day android users are increasing in the world, daily thousands of android devices purchased in worldwide: in the form of smartphone, tablet, GPS navigation devices.

The main reason behind the huge popularity of Android is that it is highly customizable, android phones are available for every budget range e.g. users can buy an Android phone from Rs. 5000/- to Rs. 45000/-.

For new users it could be some difficult to understand working in this OS but soon when they are familiar with Android they may found this platform very easy and useful for their daily tasks. Once I get a chance to work on a Blackberry phone and it took my half day to sync old Nokia mobile contact to port in this device. A very simple thing that import export contact via sd card is missing such a high budget Blackberry device.

We can categorize Android phone into seven sections in view of operating aspect namely Home Screen (Panel, main screen), Application Drawer, Widgets, Status Bar, Settings , Apps (Applications & Play Store) and File manager. Now see one by one what does mean by these terms and how to use them in your mobile.

Note: All Android phones are different. Each manufacturer alters the software a bit, so the screenshots here may look a little different than the phone you have. Just keep in mind that the basics are essentially the same on most devices. We used Samsung Galaxy Tab-2 (7 in)  for this demonstration of android guide.

"android guide"

1. Android Guide for Home Screen –   Home screen or panel is the main screen that you see when you unlock/switched on your android mobile. This is like your computer’s desktop screen where all the shortcut of application and control of whole computer is available. In mobile you will found more than one screen, these may be 3,5,7 or user addable depends on the Android version and manufacturer. On this screen you will found short cut of your apps in the form of their icon and widgets. When you tap on these icon than selected apps will launch and by pressing back key you can close these apps. When you press home key these apps will continue to run in background and consume RAM and processing power. So it is always better to use back key in place of home if you do not want to use that app in background (this is used for multitasking). By long pressing home key you can check recently opened or running apps. In Android 4.0 and 4.1 one more modification available that you can see all the running apps by pressing multitasking key (looking two square imposing each other). When you pressed this key all the running apps shown you can go to them by tapping over them or swipe them to left to right to end the app.

When you want to place any short cut of any app just press app drawer icon and press and hold over selected app and placed it over the screen by moving left or right where you want to place them. For removing any shortcut icon from home screen, press and hold that icon and move towards trash pan and leave into it. By deleting shortcut your app will not uninstall you can again place short cut as like before (in some custom ROM like MIUI it will uninstall , because no app drawer in MIUI).

Some tips for home screen –

a. If you want to access more app on a single screen for your easiness you can place a folder on your favorite screen and move all apps shortcut icons inside this folder. You can now easily access them by tapping on folder icon in place of every time searching the app icon location.

b.Do not place many widgets on your screens as they always run in background in live condition e.g. weather widget it always run and also access internet as the sync settings to update continuously.

c. When not in use such apps like facebook , browser etc. close these apps by using back key your multitasking key as describe above to save memory and battery. ( see my previous post how to save battery in android and how to optimise RAM usage)

2. Android Guide for Application drawer – Application drawer is the place where all the installed apps of your mobile placed. You can access them by pressing app drawer icon in most mobile this is a hard key but in some tablet or mobile it can be placed on screen itself. The symbol of this is a many small squares in one icon. Using app drawer you can place your favriote apps icon on the screen, launch them. In Jellybean (4.1) or Icecream Sandwich (4.0) you can also place widgets using app drawer and uninstall the apps.

"android guide"

3. Android Guide for Widgets – Widgets are just like desktop gadgets in windows vista/ windows 7 they run in live mode to give you current details of selected widgets. For example you can place widgets like date & time and weather information, calendar and events, facebook , twitter etc. Some widgets shown system current status like available memory, RAM, network usage etc.

Widgets are also of two category one updates itself regularly to notify you the current status as like weather, system info widget etc. And second category widgets are not run in background they access you quick reachability of certain apps or system setting e.g. flash light widget, power widget. For battery saving use as less widgets as possible.

4. Android Guide for Status bar – Status bar is one of the important thing in android smartphone that allow you to access some settings quickly and also notify you about missed calls, sms, mms, facebook notifications. Status bar also show you time and date, battery level, network strength, next alarm etc. In JellyBean you can access multiple notifications by spreading them e.g. multiple email, facebook notifications etc. Using clear button you can clear all the notification at once. Or just swipe over notification from left to right to remove any single notification.

"Android guide"

Tips for Status Bar – Long press over the quick setting icon to reach respective setting quicky e.g. long press over sound icon to reach whole sound settings etc.

5. Settings – This is the place where you can access all the settings of your android device, e.g. sound settings, wifi settings, display settings, OS updates etc.  You can reach to settings by many ways in Android e.g. press setting icon in app drawer, press menu key in home screen and tap over setting icon, in Android 4.0/4.1 setting icon is also inside status bar.

"android guide"

Settings is a big section so it can be classified by following options –

a. Wireless & Networks – Here you can configure all the connectivity options like, wifi, Bluetooth, mobile networks etc.


Some tips for wireless & networks – long press over connected wifi connected network to change proxy settings.  Use wifi hot spot to use your mobile as a wifi router to access its internet along other wifi enabled devices. Use 2G in place of 3G to save battery. In advanced setting of wifi you can see MAC id of your device, in advanced option of mobile network you can see APN of your service provider.

 b. Device Settings – Here you will found your device basic settings like Sound, Display, battery usage , application manager. You can see all running application in application manager and stop the unwanted apps from here. You can also uninstall apps from here. Clear defaults of apps, clear cache of apps, remove updates of apps. (see how to free up internal memory in android)


Tips for application manager – Use running services section to stop or kill apps inplace of many task manager available in play store.

c. Location and Security – This is the section where you can enable pattern, pin lock for your device for security. And can also enable/disable location service that allow you to found your location on Google Maps etc.


Tips for security key – in case you are not able to access your device by continuous usage of wrong patterns/pin code you have to hard reset your device. You can also installed Androidlost free apps from play store to enable unlock phone using sms.

See my previous posts regarding this .  Some apps require device administrator access to use their functionality. If you want to see what are device uses your device administrator tap on the device administrator. If you want to remove this/these apps than first uncheck the tick mark against these apps and uninstall. If any unauthorized apps gain access to device administration than this app can be used to remote controlling of your device and can access all the data and important information of your phone so be aware and uninstall such apps if you accidently enable for device administration.

d.  Accounts –  In this section you can add or remove various accounts like google (one account is must to access google services), facebook, email accounts, yahoo, linkedin, twitter etc.


 Tips for accounts – Do not check automatic sync options if you want to save battery and data of your network for limited data plan users. Also do not check option for push email it will consume more battery. If you want google accounts to sync many time than use manual sync inplace of auto sync. If you want remove your main google account than you have to factory reset your device due to security reasons.

e. System Settings – This is the place where you will found your system related settings like date & time (auto update of time using network, time zone), language and keyboard settings etc. You can check updates and factory reset your phone using about option. You can also see your mobile no., network strength in dbm, your firmware version, android version (2.3, 4.0, 4.1 etc.)


6. Applications & Play Store(market) – In android phone apps are very important thing because everything works with the apps, either it is phone dialing app, any game, web browser etc. everything is an application. Depend upon your device and manufacturer inbuilt apps may be some different but google apps are more or less are similar. For example Gmail, Google Maps, Google search, Gtalk, calendar these are apps provided by android itself and called core apps of google. Besides these inbuilt apps you can download more than three million apps using Google Play store that was previously called market. Here you will found every type of apps like games, office related, system related etc. there are both of the versions of apps some are free to download and some are chargeable. Google Play is the most important thing of Android and the major reason for android popularity. Because most of the apps are free to use including google’s own apps and these apps have app type of variety.


It is always recommended that you should install apps using play store to avoid malware and spyware apps. Also install some antivirus app like lookout, avg, etc. these are free apps and also have many features except checking apps for security. Although Android is secure OS as it is based on linux so there is no effect of windows based viruses though you have be cautious to choose apps. Also check apps review and ratings before download in play store.

For your device security, check what an app can access in your device( phone state, calls, internet, sms etc.). You can see these options at the time of installing and can also view in application manager. Some antivirus apps functionality to block what an apps can access from your mobile.

Some tips for apps – Always install apps from play store if possible, app can be backed up in the form of .apk files (executable files for android just like .exe in windows) using some file manager like androzip inside your sd card. You can again install these apps from sd card by taping on them.  Some apps are free but can continue irritate you using ads in notifications, try to avoid them. A rooted OS in more severe to security threats in place of un-rooted. Some apps can use internet of your mobile without your knowledge for limited data users this can be a problem. Always disable these apps of keep syncing off if you are on a limited data plan.

7. File manager – File manager is also an app that allows you to access all your files inside your internal or external memory. But in un-rooted mobile you cannot access system files these are hidden for security reasons. All devices come with stock file manager. You can also install another popular file managers from play store like ES file explorer, Androzip etc. Using these apps you can also send files using Bluetooth from share option. And can also share your photos , files using email, gmail, facebook, google drive, dropbox etc.

See the similar post –  Android Tips and tricks